January 22, 2008 Mixed martial arts fans in Las Vegas can expect to see something different when Bodog Fight rolls into town on Feb. 1. Make that two things: Women’s MMA fights and a much-anticipated four-man tournament.
Given Sin City’s undisputed reputation as the fight capital of the world, it is hard to believe these two fan-favorites have been a rare sight on the Strip.
Incredibly, it was just last April that the Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned its first MMA tournament. Not coincidentally, the promoter was Tuff ‘N Uff’s Barry Meyer, who is also co-promoting Bodog Fight: Nick Thompson vs. John Troyer at the Las Vegas Sport Center next month.
“Fans really seem to love the tournament format,” says Meyer. “It’s popular in amateur boxing, karate, wrestling and kickboxing, and we’re starting to see more of it now in MMA.”
As a veteran of the first-ever sanctioned MMA tournament in California, Bodog Fight Middleweight Champion Trevor Prangley says it’s exciting for the fighters too.
“I won’t lie; it isn’t easy,” says Prangley. “If you get banged up in the first fight, your body can stiffen up going into the next fight. But as tough as it is physically, I think the real test is mental. Physically, most fighters can do it, but not everyone has the mental toughness to do it. I like the challenge of pushing myself to the limit, both mentally and physically.”
Assuming it receives final approval by the NSAC, the 170-pound Feb. 1 tournament in Vegas will feature three three-minute rounds, meaning the fighters would compete for a maximum of 18 minutes should both their fights go the distance.
Hawaiian native Seth Baczynski (4-5) and Las Vegas’ own Chris Kennedy (3-4) are scheduled to meet in the tournament’s first match.
A graduate of UNLV, Kennedy competed on the school’s boxing team before becoming an officer with the Las Vegas Police Department. Baczynski is an IFL veteran who now trains with Don Frye in Arizona.
The second tournament match pits Greg Jackson fighter Jerome “The Synjrome” Martinez (3-2) from Albuquerque, New Mexico against Waachim Spiritwolf (3-3), who has trained with some of the top names in mixed martial arts, including Abu Dhabi Absolute champion Dean Lister and kickboxing champion Kit Cope.
Winners will advance to the tournament final later in the evening. Bodog Fight: Nick Thompson vs. John Troyer will take place at the Las Vegas Sport Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with fights starting at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to the four-man tournament and the welterweight title fight between champion Thompson (39-8-1) and challenger Troyer (8-0), the fantastic fight card will also feature Bodog Fight’s newest female knockout sensation, Kaitlin Young (3-0), who scored three spectacular first-round KOs at a recent Bodog-sponsored tournament in Indiana.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster, with prices starting at $30.00